twenty-three weeks gone.

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We drive past Glencoe on the way up to Loch Ness. It’s a beautiful day, sunny and almost warm, but the mountains are shrouded in a stubborn layer of grey mist.

They say the mist of Glencoe is really the ghosts of the slaughtered MacDonalds, Peter says, in the practiced tone of all tour guides. It’s a slightly detached tone, but at the same time it is engaging, hinting at a real sense of urgency. The Campbells murdered the MacDonalds 321 years ago, but he’s paid to make the betrayal seem fresh and relevant. It’s not hard. The parking lot is surrounded by fog and stone. He plays us a song, a murder ballad. Cruel is the snow that sweeps Glencoe, and covers the grave O’Donald.

It’s raining when we reach Loch Ness and Castle Urquhart, but it’s just a sprinkle that lasts from the bus to the ruins. It stops abruptly, the rain, giving way to an enormous double rainbow that spans the banks of the loch from side to side. We’ve been in the bus for five hours, off and on, and we stand in front of the castle for too long, taking picture after picture and feeling bleary and sleepy and a little overwhelmed.

There’s something about rainbows, I tell my friend. And she agrees, but somehow it’s not enough. I want to chase her down, I want to try and explain myself: no, no, there’s really something about rainbows. Just look at it harder! It’s a fucking beam of light across the sky!

It doesn’t make any sense. It’s a fucking beam of multi-colored light across the sky. I stand and stare until it fades completely away.

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photographs taken with a Canon 60D at Loch Ness, Scotland.

find all weekly travel updates here.

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